Great news! Fatalities from automobile accidents on roads in the United Kingdom are in decline, and we are close to the lowest fatality rate in years. Unfortunately, many people continue to die on the UK’s roads each year, and the statistics indicate that heavy goods vehicles are involved in many of these accidents. This is especially true for accidents occurring on single-track roads in rural areas which see numerous accidents resulting in approximately 60 to 80 deaths per year. So this year, we want to help lower this number by sharing the top five ways you, as a responsible HGV driver, can prevent accidents happening on roads.
1. Remain In Control
The first of all the causes of HGV-related car accidents is a loss of driver control. A driver can lose control of a vehicle for a plethora of reasons, and many of them are not the driver’s fault at all. Nevertheless, drivers are trained on how to avoid these situations as much as possible before they attain their Cat C licence. The weather plays a large role in control ranging from snow and ice to fog or even driving while raining. All of this makes it difficult for the vehicle’s tyres to grip the road and for the driver to see clearly.
However, some of the loss of control is on the onus of the driver ranging from reacting badly to others to distraction when on the road. As there are many causes that are out of one’s control, the best you can do is keep the vehicle well-maintained and serviced. Take care of small things like wipers, lights and brakes and these could save your life.
2. Always Be Aware
An HGV is a large and very bulky vehicle; therefore, it is often difficult to know what is happening at all points of the vehicle – this is particularly true when your blind spots are approximately five times larger than the average car. Failing to consider your surroundings and utilising the mirrors inappropriately are major causes of accidents in the HGV world, but they do not need to be. Always be sure to observe your surroundings, particularly when the weather is bad. You can also prioritise the vehicle’s mirrors making a point to keep them clean and improve your overall visibility.
3. Be Sensible And Safe
Statistics show that the UK has some of the busiest roads in Europe with the drivers being far from polite. In fact, drivers in the UK are highly aggressive making it tempting to respond to this aggression with increased aggression or some passive-aggression. Instead of letting the driver ‘get to you’, it is recommended that you attempt to remain calm and not respond aggressively when driving. Instead, treat the unruly driver with zen and do not drive if there are any illicit substances in your system.
4. Remain Responsible Behind The Wheel
Many people have been tempted to check their mobile phones when stuck in slow-moving traffic. This is something all people experience, and each year lives are lost in a few seconds of carelessness; so, do not give in! When driving, always keep your mobile phone out of arm’s reach and ensure you are focussed on the task at hand – driving. It is also worth noting that most accidents occur at night after the hour of 11 pm when drivers become tired. If you begin to feel your eyelids drooping and start to feel tired, pull over, buy a coffee, go for a walk or have a nap before you continue with your driving.
5. Respecting The Speed Limit
Finally, the classic reason for car accidents – speeding. Did you know that four people were caught speeding each minute during 2017? Speed limits are not merely pretty signs, although some people believe them to be so, they are there to ensure all people remain safe when on the road and that you have enough stopping time should there be an accident. This is particularly significant in rural areas where it might be tempting to reduce your travel time by speeding. If you wish to remain safe, particularly in a large vehicle, it is advised that you adhere to the speed limits and not become another fatality.